Aliyev Reiterates Territorial Integrity Claim

BAKU–The Karabakh conflict must be resolved within the territorially integral Azerbaijan, President Ilham Aliyev said at the Tuesday meeting of the national government.

“The main essence of the settlement negotiations is the restoration of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. We do not discuss any options outside this framework,” he said.

It is possible to discuss the future status of Karabakh, the president said. “However, no status is possible without consent of the Azerbaijani state. Azerbaijan will never grant Karabakh with any status outside its territorial integrity. This is known by Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group Cochairmen [Russia, the United States and France],” he said.

There is no document at the negotiations, which could make Karabakh independent, Aliyev said. “There is no mechanism of Karabakh’s secession from Azerbaijan, and there cannot be any,” he said.

The problem can have only a legal solution, the president said. “Azerbaijan will not waive its rights an inch. It will mobilize all the resources and work on the soonest settlement with due account of all international norms,” he said.

Aliyev said they should intensify diplomatic, political, economic, propaganda and military efforts in order to resolve the Karabakh problem as soon as possible.

The Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers held consultations with the OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen in Moscow on Friday, August 1.

It is still a long way to the Karabakh settlement, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov said after the consultations.

“We attentively listened to the Armenian side. It is still a long way to a breakthrough, but we have agreed to continue negotiations,” he said.

“The negotiations were useful. We discussed remaining problems,” the minister noted.

Mamedyarov said that the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents might hold another meeting. “Everything depends on consultations between the two foreign ministers,” he said. “If we find a common ground, nothing will be impossible.”

Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian did not go into the meeting’s details. “If we tell details to the media, it will be hard to make further progress,” he said. “There are delicate issues, and we must be careful in order not to create additional impedimen’s. The Moscow meeting confirmed that the sides were trying to create proper conditions for further negotiations.”

The sides agreed that the problem must be resolved gradually, Mamedyarov said. “We are neighbors, and we must resolve Karabakh problems,” Nalbandian said. “I am sure we can resolve any problems with political will. The spirit of the negotiations is positive and constructive.”

The OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen lauded the Moscow meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers.

“The meeting was very constructive. Both ministers were satisfied,” Russian Cochairman Yuri Merzlyakov said. He abstained from forecasts about the possible Karabakh settlement deadline, but lauded the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group. “That was the third meeting of the ministers in the past three months,” he said.

US Cochairman Matthew Bryza said that it was possible to resolve the Karabakh problem in case of a political will of both sides. He said their mission was to build up confidence and to promote the negotiations.

Bryza said that the Karabakh situation was still difficult but some progress had been made. He recalled the Madrid proposals of the OSCE Minsk Group, which started current consultations. Bryza also said that the possible Karabakh sovereignty would be a question of referendum.

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